Watch: Martin Scorsese’s Documentary on New York Dolls’ David Johansen

Director Martin Scorsese has released the first trailer for his upcoming documentary, Personality Crisis: One Night Only, centered on New York Dolls’ founding member David Johansen.

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The film breaks down the artist’s life and career, from the onset of the groundbreaking New York Dolls in 1971 through his solo career and transformation into Buster Poindexter in the late 1980s and ’90s, and more. The new documentary will premiere on Showtime on April 14.

In the trailer, Johansen is seen on stage, performing at the cabaret lounge Café Carlyle in New York City in January 2020, and telling the audience a little about his journey.

“We decided we would do Buster Poindexter,” he said in the clip. “That’s me, singing the songs of David Johansen. That’s me. And so here we are, both of us.”

The preview also shows Johansen performing a new rendition of the song “Frenchette,” off his 1978 self-titled solo album, along with “Heart of Gold” from his 1981 album Here Comes the Night, along with clips of artists, including Morrissey, talking about his and the New York Dolls’ influence.

At times calling himself a “one-hit wonder twice,” in the trailer, Johansen also called his 1987 hit single, “Hot Hot Hot,” the “bane of my existence.”

“I’m such a sentimental, old fool,” he said to the crowd of some familiar faces and friends, including Blondie‘s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein.

Co-directed by Scorsese and his longtime collaborator David Tedeschi, and executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, the film was compiled from the clips from Johansen’s solo concert at Café Carlyle, along with archival interviews and footage. Some scenes were also filmed by Johansen’s daughter, singer, and songwriter Leah Hennessey.

Johansen, who recently released his second and final collaborative album with the Harry Smiths, Shaker, in 2022, is the last surviving member of the New York Dolls.

Formed in 1971 in New York City by Johansen, along with guitarists Johnny Thunders and Rick Rivets — later replaced by Sylvain Sylvain in 1972 —bassist Arthur Kane, and drummer Billy Murcia, the New York Dolls were pioneers of the early punk scene that would emerge in New York City during the mid-’70s.

Their faces painted in makeup and hair teased, the New York Dolls donned women’s platforms and high heels, skin-tight—everything—and influenced everyone from their fellow CBGB colleagues The Ramones and across the pond with British punks The Damned and The Sex Pistols, along with bands like Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard, Hanoi Rocks, The Smiths, Green Day, and the Manic Street Preachers, among many others.

“Vegetarian, gay, straight — whatever,” said Johansen in the clip. “I just wanted to bring those walls down and have a party.”

Photo by Randy Bachman/Getty Images

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